Ramblings from another nerd on the grid
If you haven’t bothered to install Internet Explorer (IE) 7 Beta 2, then please bother. I’ve been using it for a few days now and have yet to crash it, it works with all of my favorite sites and I like the speed. This is of course a beta and therefore it isn’t the final released and supported version, but it is off to a great start.
It takes getting used to. I had to change one of my habits. I’m used to opening multiple instances of IE6 for the various websites I hit. After I’m done with the site, I kill off that IE instance. However, with the new IE7 tabs feature I no longer need to do that. I can just kill off the tab hosting the website I no longer need. Unfortunately, I’m a bonehead and haven’t broken my old habit yet. I am still killing the IE instance but when I do that, good bye to all of the other tabbed instances. Arrgggg!!! FireFox, Opera and Navigator users will laugh at that but I'm sure they went through the same behaviour change.
Since I was messing around with RSS <enclosure> support on my blog, I started using the RSS feeds capability inside IE7. It works really well after you figure things out. A word of warning though… The default feed sync interval is 24 hours. This is great for newsfeeds and such where you might check them in the morning over coffee. However, if you want more frequent sync intervals, be sure to right mouse click the feed and set an appropriate time-frame. There is no global feed interval change UI at present. I requested a change to this on the IEBlog and they commented this is in the works.
One of the new security features is the Phishing Filter. I have yet to see it in action but I’m really glad we are adding this type of support. I always worry about the less technically inclined in my family (and customers) when it comes to viruses, worms and phishing attacks. For more information, see the Microsoft Anti Phishing Whitepaper.
Since I have bad eyes, I also enjoy the new Clear Type font support and page zooming. Page zooming is that little magnifying glass at the bottom right corner of IE7. Click the little down arrow, and you get the popup list (see screenshot) of the presets or the ability to set your own custom setting.
This will come in real handy for those of you that have a Windows XP Media Center PC connected to a large High Definition TV. For those HDTV users, they typically run at really high screen resolutions (1920x1080 in my case). This makes text pretty hard to read so most people crank up the XP DPI settings. Now, you can control that text display better right inside IE7 and can surf the web in high def glory.
Printing has been improved. Thank the heavens!!! Print preview, page scaling, real time or “live” margin changes can be made, and lots of other goodies. I try to avoid killing trees but some of those order receipts are important so I’m glad this area got some attention.
There are some Windows Vista specific features coming. The Vista features center around some security and parental control. It’s almost too late for me to worry about controlling my teens. In fact, it is too late. The best control I’ve found is the removal of their wireless access. I know, I know…
For more information on IE7, be sure to go grab the download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/ie7betaredirect.mspx. Be sure to read the information there in order to assess any application impact you may encounter. There is an IT Pro checklist at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/ie7/itprochecklist.mspx. The IE7 Technology Overview is a nice little guide on all of the features but I would imagine you’ll discover most of them rather quickly. If you do nothing else, be sure to take the fancy shmancy IE7 Tour of Features.
By the way, one of the top blogs at Microsoft is the IEBlog at http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/default.aspx. There is a lot of good information there although the replies to specific feature studies can get huge.